Top Ten

October 19, 2020

Final recommendations released from Alberta Colleges Economic Recovery Task Force

The Alberta Colleges Economic Recovery Task Force has released its final report and recommendations focused on four key themes: Indigenous Peoples’ participation in post-secondary education and the workforce; Student participation and integration into the workforce; Talent and skills development; and Industry connectivity and industry-driven solutions. The recommendations build upon a previous report released in July 2020. “Our final report builds on our initial recommendations and highlights existing strengths in the system, identifies areas for improvement, and provides solutions for a collaborative approach to expedite the province’s economic recovery,” said Robert Murray, Chair of the Alberta Colleges Economic Recovery Task Force and President of Grande Prairie Regional College. Lethbridge | GPRC (AB)

Dal instructors, students collaborate to create OER psychology textbook

Dalhousie University instructors and students have collaborated to create a psychology textbook open educational resource (OER) for students. The textbook project was started by Dal teaching fellow Leanne Stevens, who saw that students could not always afford psychology textbooks. Stevens worked with other instructors and students to find a suitable OER resource to base the textbook upon, make content more relevant to a Canadian audience, and align the learning outcomes. “The idea is that others will be able to adapt this text to their needs as well,” Stevens said. “That really is my hope, that this is useful for psychology courses at other universities and that they would want to adopt it, passing the savings on to even more students.” Dal (NS)

Reimagining the humanities: Opinion

The humanities need to be reimagined in the face of the current crisis, writes Steven Mintz. The humanities were already facing a decline in funding and enrollment numbers, but the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these issues. The author gives four different ways that the humanities could adapt to this crisis: through viewing it as a study of how to live life, as a field of “translational humanities” that apply humanities to other realms, as critical humanities examining the world through postmodern thought, and as a global study. “We must reaffirm the signal importance of the humanities’ great contributions: A methodology that emphasizes analysis, interpretation, evaluation, and contextualization and a focus on peoples’ minds – their perceptions, emotions, hopes, dreams, fears -- and modes of expression,” said Mintz. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Riipen, RBC Future Launch expand WIL partnerships

Riipen has announced the beginning of Phase II of a partnership with RBC Future Launch that will include an additional 16 postsecondary institutions across Canada. This second phase will create 6,000 work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities for students over the next year. “We know that hands on, experiential learning is critical to getting those all-important first jobs and breaking the ‘no experience, no job’ cycle, and we are excited to expand our partnership with Riipen so that it can positively impact even more young people in Canada,” said Mark Beckles, Senior Director, Youth Strategy & Innovation at RBC. Dana Stephenson, CEO of Riipen stated, “With this additional support from RBC Future Launch, we are able to offer students the confidence, career clarity, and skills development in a way that supports small and medium businesses across Canada.” Phase I of the partnership included 15 institutions and connected over 5,400 youth with practical learning experiences. Riipen (National)

YorkU receives $10M gift for new campus

York University has announced a gift from the R.P. Bratty Family Foundation toward its new Markham Centre Campus. Slated to open in Fall 2023, the new campus will offer “employer-aligned degree programs, certificates and other credentials” in the growing areas of data analytics, business and entrepreneurship, and new media and communications. “This contribution will not only support the MCC’s ability to provide a high-quality student learning experience in newly emerging and high demand programs,” said YorkU President Rhonda L. Lenton, “but facilitate the research, innovation and creative activities contributing to York’s larger mission to build inclusive and resilient communities in one of the fastest-growing regions in Canada.” York (ON)

University, college sports associations cancel winter seasons

Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) have each announced the cancellation of their 2021 winter season in response to the ongoing pandemic. Both OUA and OCAA have said that the health and safety of their athletic communities are top priority, and that the decision was made after consulting with key stakeholders and advisors. “We empathize, understand, and share the deep disappointment this especially causes for our winter sport student-athletes,” said OCAA President Nathan McFadden. OUA President and CEO Gord Grace stated he is “confident that our participants will continue to demonstrate their resolve and determination through these exceptional circumstances and as we work toward an eventual safe return to competition.” OUA | OCAA | The Sudbury Star (National)

UCalgary launches Master of Data Science and Analytics degree

A new graduate program is being offered by the University of Calgary beginning in September 2021. The Master of Data Science and Analytics degree was developed in response to a growing skills demand in Canada’s digital economy. Students will be able to choose from three areas of focus: fundamental data science, business analytics, or health data analytics and biostatistics. “Realizing the changing needs in an increasingly data-driven economy in Alberta, Canada, and around the world, the new program will fill an important niche in meeting the needs of students with an interest in re-skilling and up-skilling towards the tech sector,” said UCalgary interim Faculty of Science dean Bernhard Mayer. UCalgary (AB)

Michener launches two-day medical lab worker training program

The Michener Institute has launched a new two-day intensive program to train medical lab workers. This program will help address the backlog of COVID-19 tests by training up to 600 students to do preliminary lab work, thus reducing the workload of certified technologists and assistants. Students will participate in a blended program, with an online portion as well as hands-on lab experience. “What we’re doing is really taking an educational strategy that extends the clinical team that supports the labs and the testing that’s needed for COVID-19,” said Maria Tassone, senior director of the School of Continuing Education at the Michener Institute. Global News (ON)

New agreement enhances agricultural research at Lethbridge

Lethbridge College has announced an agreement with the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The agreement will see Lethbridge manage and operate the Alberta Irrigation Technology Centre and the Brooks Greenhouse as part of its Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The facilities will be used as workspace for agricultural researchers from across the industry. “This agreement will allow our Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship to build on its strengths and expand its work and relationships with the local agriculture industry, creating new and innovative solutions that drive the industry forward and contribute to Alberta’s economic growth,” said Lethbridge College President Paula Burns. Burns added the agreement is especially important for growing student capacity for research at the college. Lethbridge | Lethbridge Herald (AB)

Regis College, St Mike’s renew discussions of closer institutional relationship

The University of St Michael’s College and Regis College have met “to explore a mutual desire to renew long-standing discussions regarding a closer institutional relationship.” The two Catholic institutions have established the Regis-USMC Steering Committee, which oversees an alliance that will guide them using shared principles. These principles include a commitment to forge a world-class Catholic theological centre, consult all stakeholders, and deepen Regis College’s and St Mike’s relationship. St Mike’s (ON)